“Nein, Ich bin Dein Vater!” is the German translation of Darth Vader’s epic movie line from Star Wars. I am a bit of a movie nerd so I instantly noticed how the movie experience here in good ol’ Europe differed from back home in the States. Aside from calling it “The Cinema”, here are some more things that I just find/found odd.

Dubbing: I know this is not a shock to many people, but in larger European countries they dub everything into the native language. If you want to watch an American movie in English, you have to seek out movie theaters that offer the original version (OV). Again not a shocker, but what is shocking is that there are Germans who have no idea what the English speaking actor REALLY sounds like. Think of some of the most distinctive and recognizable voices in Hollywood. Sean Connery, James Earl Jones, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson. These actors are consistently dubbed by the same person, so they know Tom Cruise’s face but only hear “The Voice of Tom Cruise” who is some German clown.

Booze: They serve alcohol in the move theaters here. Usually not the hard stuff, but you can drink beer and wine in the cinema and purchase it where you get the other refreshments. You can also drink alcohol on the street, but again, that’s for another post.

Popcorn: I haven’t been to cinema in every country in Europe but in Germany and England you can choose from two different types of popcorn, sweet or salt. Salt is your regular standard fare and sweet is similar to kettle corn made with sugar. It’s one of my favorite things about the movies here. Some people live on the wild side and get a mix of both. (yuck) I recall a British friend studied in the States for a semester and almost cried when she asked for “sweet popcorn” and the person behind the concession stand gave her the ‘WTF face’. Her reply “What, you can’t have cinema without sweet popcorn!!!” and almost had a break down.

Seating: Seating is not first come first serve, when you purchase a ticket, you have to choose a seat like it’s a proper theater. The first time I went to the movies in London, the girl pointed me to a screen and asked if I wanted to sit towards the front or back. Come again? How is that your business? There is a seating chart, and you have to pick a seat, no going around it. You even have to pay more for “premium” seats, which are located in the middle and towards the back. They are usually 2 Euros/Pounds more than the “standard” seats. It annoys me because there is no urgency to getting to theater. You can pre-book your tickets online, choose a seat right in the middle and then climb over everyone who took the effort to get to the movies on time. I prefer, if you get there early, you get the best pick. Fair is fair! :)

Ice cream:Well not the presence of ice cream, but the timing of the ice cream selling. Right after the previews, and before the main feature, the lights come back up and people come round and sell you ice cream. They literally yell “Ice Cream” or “Eis” in Germany. The start of the movie can be delayed for 15 minutes if there is high demand. I couldn’t believe my eyes the first time I saw it, it felt like I went back into a time machine. Amazing.

That’s all I have for now, anyone spot any other Cinema/Movie differences?
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